San Francisco’s Red Window Restaurant celebrates Spanish traditions with a modern twist
Red Window, one of the newer North Beach hotspots in San Francisco, is on a mission to create a welcoming neighborhood hub for locals and travelers alike. Now that people get their shots, look for great places to hang out, and most importantly, feel comfortable doing it, Red Window is in a prime position to become the go-to place for a quick tapa and a low cocktail. resistance, or for customers to enjoy the full dining experience by exploring the innovative low resistance cocktail program with thoughtfully paired Spanish bites.
Conveniently located in one of Little Italy’s busiest neighborhoods, it’s not common to see a non-Italian restaurant occupying top-notch real estate. That said, Managing Partner Elmer Mejicanos has been working in the area for over 15 years now and seeing the need for a different kind of offering in the neighborhood, appealed to Chef / Partner Adam Rosenblume to broaden the horizons of North Beach.
“Red Window is an extension of the European perspective seen in the city’s Little Italy, bringing a celebration of Spanish traditions by soaking up culture, tapas and pintxos, with a modern twist,” says Mejicanos. “The menu aims to provide guests with a dining experience customizable to their preferences and comfort level, equally desirable for a quick lunch with a low-resistance pintxo and cocktail, a take-out meal or a leisurely tour of the Cocktail and main course menus with a visit to the bar cart, which brings the bar experience to the client’s outdoor table.
Mejicanos opened Red Window with the intention of bringing its largest, seasonal and low-resistance cocktail bar to San Francisco. Working creatively with a beer and wine license, he seized the opportunity to make Red Window a destination for low-resistance cocktails, skillfully manipulating fortified wines and bitters.
Guests will find cocktails in seasonal rotation alongside classics like the Red Window Cobbler house dubbed “San Francisco’s Best Shoemaker.” Its mission is a new response to a city that continues to crave craft cocktails, especially after so much time spent indoors, but with a spotlight on the low-resistance experience.
For the menu, Chef Adam Rosenblum worked closely with Mejicanos to create a selection of tapas that blend and balance with the flavors developed for the cocktail program. Rosenblum seeks to evoke a sense of nostalgia in customers who experience Red Window. Diners will find a range of pintxos, tapas and dishes recognizable and celebrating the Spanish tradition. The flavors are true to their origin, while combining interesting touches of flavor and technique that give it a unique Red Window touch.
We sat down with Managing Partner Elmer Mejicanos to talk about the best things to order, how Red Window has been received, pandemic pivots and more. Here is what he had to say.
Was it difficult to open given the pandemic?
We planned to open Red Window in early 2020 before the nature of hospitality turned upside down during the pandemic. It’s been a long road before the opening and he couldn’t be prouder of the ingenuity of the team in bringing Red Window to life and developing new ways of doing it. As the outlook for the industry becomes more optimistic, the team’s mission is to rekindle a sense of hospitality, give pleasure and fun, create a place of community and share a whole new way to taste craft cocktails.
How was the restaurant received? What can customers expect from a dining experience here?
We are grateful to say that the restaurant has been very well received by locals and visitors to San Francisco so far. People seem excited to have something different in the neighborhood.
Guests will find attention to detail in every aspect of service – from the hot towels offered at the start of the meal to the bar cart that brings guests fun and ambiance. Red Window strikes a smart balance between offering a well-crafted cocktail and dining experience, in an accessible environment, perfect for enjoying a special occasion or treating yourself to a midweek bite with friends.
Why did you choose North Beach for a Spanish restaurant?
In Mejicanos’ opinion, North Beach is one of the most sustainable and authentic neighborhoods in San Francisco. It’s a place where everyone knows their neighbor and people take pride in supporting local businesses – which are still mostly family owned or small businesses. There is a special sense of community that really reinforced the decision of the Red Window team to take root in this iconic neighborhood.
The best things to order from the cocktail menu?
In the cocktail menu, the Red Window Cobbler house is a must. Mejicanos has always loved the complex flavor of sherry cobblers. Sherry is one of Spain’s best-known low-resistance products and goes very well with Red’s food menu.
The window. We have taken great care in creating the cobblers – really focusing on the process and the quality of the ingredients.
The cocktail is actually a secret Red Window house blend of three different styles of sherry, alongside Tangelo Cordial, Angostura, and locally sourced peaches, figs and black walnuts. There is real love and care that goes into everyone. When creating this cocktail, his usual process takes a few weeks to develop new recipes and the Red Window Cobbler took months to find the right balance.
Plus, trying a cocktail in the bar cart is a must for those who dine out. The purpose of the bar cart is to bring something to people that was taken away during the pandemic. The team missed out on this interaction that happens when guests are sitting at the bar and interacting with someone cooking something delicious.
The best things to order from the tapas menu?
On the tapas menu there are plenty of Spanish-inspired delicacies to try. Among the must-haves is the Tortilla Española, inspired by Rosenblum’s pre-pandemic research trip to Spain. A dish typically served by the slice, Rosenblum instead serves an individualized version of the potato and egg dish, topped with mashed caramelized onions and paprika to add an extra depth of flavor. Also not to be missed, Red Window’s Patatas Bravas, made thinly sliced potatoes and slowly baking them into a 50-layer potato cake. Each is then individually cut into cubes for frying and topped with a peppery aioli.